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www.LawFuel.co.nz - The 'Briefcase' Blog

www.LawFuel.co.nz - The 'Briefcase' Blog

Blood-Stained Lawyers, The Two Hillarys, Google Goes To The 'Wrapa . . And More

Blood Stained Lawyers

The blood on the ground at Wall Street and in the City spread to Big Law in the Big Apple even before this week's big sell-off. It's going to get ugly out there just as many Wall Street firms were offering straight off-the-rank salaries of up to $160,000 to newbie lawyers.

This month alone Manhattan-based Cadwaladers has laid off 35 lawyers and last month Thacher Proffitt cut 50 jobs. In London, which has boomed along with New York, confidence has wained also. A recent survey shows that only 30 per cent of City partners are expecting double-digit growth this year, compared to 70 per cent last year. Talking with local lawyers from the major firms, there's certainly an acceptance that the boom has ended. Last year's M&A work and its ilk were in overdrive. This year, there's going to be some gingering up the insolvency, restructuring and bankruptcy departments.

Sir Edmund And That Other Hillary

The death of Sir Edmund Hillary closes a chapter in a book on good humoured, gruff kiwi adventurers that's almost certainly gone for good. The famous man touched many lives, like the 54 year old Malaysian lawyer named Edmund Hilary Tensing Ponniah by his admiring father and who met Sir Ed in 1999. And don't forget the lawyer from that famous Arkansas Rose Law Firm who told Sir Ed the famous porkie about being named after him. The fact that a kiwi hero like Sir Ed could trigger such overweening, no-lies-barred bull in order to facilitate a climb back into the Lincoln bedroom is as disgraceful as any other Clinton misdeed.

Googling Winemakers

News that one of the billionaire Google babies has bought into the Wairarapa's Mebus Estate vineyard got tongues wagging and will doubtless do wonders for the district's cache with both Peter Jackson and Google in the neighbourhood. So if you run into Larry or Sergey having a pint at the local trust hotel, ask them what happened to their super lawyer Phil Beck - the man who masterminded Bush's appropriation of the last election - when he was to be leading the company's defense of the $1 billion YouTube litigation from Viacom. Much heralded, he's now replaced by a trio from mega-firm Mayer Brown.

Flying High

Talking of property and money, I'm told by my luxury transportation informant that Wellington lawyer and razor-sharp property investor Mike Garnham, whose sense of timing with the sale of his harbour-side Deloittes building was exquisite, is looking to buy a circa $3 million Cessna Citation Mustang jet with fellow Windy City investor and car racer Andrew Fawcett. Lovely plane boys, but it ain't nothing on Graham Hart's Boeing 737-based BBJ, protruding from its undersized hangar at AucklandAirport. Who screwed up that building job, anyway?

Sorry, Deborahs

Talking of screwing up, I made the most terrible error in bestowing the highly prestigious 'Boscar' on Deborah Hollings QC in place of Deborah Manning in the 2007 finale. Both deserve all sorts of awards, of course and confusing Deborahs is inexcusable. DM is taking an extended leave after a tiring year. More on her in a future column.

Drugged Athletes

Former sports barrister David Howman was at home over the holiday period from his cold digs in Canada where he holds a finger in the dyke of sports drug taking as the CEO of the World Anti Doping Agency. Baseball, Marion Jones, the Olympics are all awash with drug peddlers and drug users. Jones' successfully passed 160 drug tests without being caught. This battle is increasingly a lawyer-driven one. It was lying that got Jones, after she admitted what she had done, not drug testing.

High Profile Crime

Summer reading these days increasingly involves the latest revelations on the innocence of high profile, criminal celebrities - Bain, Watson and now Lundy. This is promoted by more than just journeymen crusaders with little better to do. The pressure on prosecuting authorities in high profile cases has been shown to create injustice in cases where emotions and public expectations run high (think: Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Arthur Allan Thomas). The need for an investigation into the way serious crimes are investigated and prosecuted, along with the appeals process, is way overdue.


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